A former blacksmith who bludgeoned his wife to death with a hammer to spare her the shame of his child sex offending has been jailed for a minimum of 19 years.
Geoffrey Norton, 67, could not bear wife Janet, 64, having to deal with the fall-out of his paedophile activities.
He picked up a hammer he had hidden days earlier in the bedroom of their home in Preesall, Lancashire, and killed her while she slept.
Sentencing him at Preston Crown Court, Mr Justice MacDuff told him: "This was a brutal murder of an innocent woman who had done nothing to deserve this. It was you, not she, who had committed shameful criminal acts."
Norton was arrested in December last year over an allegation he sexually assaulted a young girl. He strenuously denied the offence and was released on police bail pending further inquiries but just weeks later he killed his wife at their log cabin-style home.
He dialled 999 shortly after he committed the murder at Willow Grove Caravan Park in Sandy Lane on the morning of January 22 and told the operator: "I have just killed my wife."
Mrs Norton was taken to Blackpool Victoria Hospital and later transferred to Royal Preston Hospital where she died the same day. A post-mortem examination showed she suffered severe head injuries.
On Monday, Norton admitted her murder, the child sex offence and a string of other historic sexual assaults against another child victim.
Sentencing him to life imprisonment, the judge added: "Your wickedness is difficult to comprehend. The reason for your decision to take the life of your wife of 46 years is hard to understand.
"It is said that you could not bear the thought that she would have to live with the knowledge of your sexual offending and that she would be unable to cope. The perverse reasoning appears to be that you were in some sense sparing her anguish, that it was kinder to kill her than to let her live in the shadow of your shame."